Our Mahler Memories Series provides highlights from oral histories of Utah Symphony musicians who played under Maestro Maurice Abravanel. During interviews conducted during the 2014-15 season, these musicians recalled their days making music with Maestro Abravanel , especially during the period of recording the Mahler symphonies. The complete oral histories will be archived in the McKay Music Library in the school of Music at the University of Utah.
JULIA LAWRENCE: Utah Symphony violist, 1965-2011 (45 years)
Abravanel introduced his musicians to Mahler
I’m not sure I had ever heard of Mahler before I got into the symphony. Probably I had heard his name in my music history classes, but I’m sure I had never played anything by Mahler before I got into the orchestra.
Mahler symphonies are challenging for the musicians
[Playing] Mahler was hard because [the music] was so elastic. The meters change, the tempos change suddenly, and the notes were hard—it was all over the place. It was really challenging.
I played in performances of the First and Second Symphonies a lot. It was obvious that [Abravanel] loved this music, and that love was contagious. He had a great way of communicating his feelings about all of this music.
Highlights from an oral history interview conducted on October 13, 2014 in the Abravanel Studio of the McKay Music Library.
Stay tuned for more Mahler Memories.